Johnston Carmichael appoints new CEO and senior partner

Johnston Carmichael appoints new CEO and senior partner

Mark Houston and Lynne Walker

Johnston Carmichael has reshaped its leadership team with the appointment of a new senior partner and chief executive officer.

Mark Houston, chair, becomes senior partner while Lynne Walker, formerly the firm’s vice chair, and head of business advisory, becomes CEO.

Mr Houston and Ms Walker will now together lead the business as it continues to grow its offering across the UK.

Ms Walker, who is based in Elgin, where the firm was founded almost 90 years ago, succeeds Andrew Walker, who has made the decision to step down after five years as CEO.

Under his tenure, the firm opened a Newcastle office, grew its London team and increased its headcount from 800 people to more than 900 across the UK, including the firm’s first chief information officer and chief people officer. Turnover has also grown from £51.4 million for the financial year ended 31 May 2020 to £67.9m for the financial year ended 31 May 2023.

Mr Walker, who spent 17 of his 20 years at Johnston Carmichael on its board, has handed over the reins as the firm prepares to launch a refreshed strategy.

Mr Houston, who joined the firm in 2006, became partner in 2008 and was selected to lead the Glasgow office in 2011, before being appointed to the board in 2013. He became vice chair in 2019 before being appointed chair in 2022. He is also on the European board of Moore Global and drives the firm’s involvement within this network.

Mr Houston said: “Lynne and I have worked together for years and with the support of the board and our excellent executive team we believe that a joined up and collaborative approach to leadership is what will help us deliver our refreshed strategy and continue our growth across the UK.

“Our business has grown considerably in recent years despite the tough economic backdrop and the challenges brought by a global pandemic. We have nearly 1,000 people in our offices across the UK, and Lynne and I look forward to leading the firm, as we look to grow our service offering further.”

He added: “Andrew has played a significant part in our success story, and I would like to thank him for his contribution on behalf of the firm.

“We are incredibly proud of the advances we have made as a firm, and at the heart of this is our desire to support our clients in being successful, to create jobs, to drive innovation and to contribute to the wider economy.”

Joining the firm as a newly-qualified chartered accountant 19 years ago, Ms Walker became audit director in 2014 and was promoted to oversee business advisory services, becoming head of business advisory in 2017 and a partner in 2019. She joined the firm’s board in 2021 and became vice chair in 2022.

Ms Walker said: “It’s a great honour, alongside Mark, to be leading Johnston Carmichael at such an exciting time for the business.

“As a firm, we continue to navigate complex societal change that not only presents opportunities for our business but our clients too.

“Over the last few years, we have embraced technology at pace and scale, and invested in new, highly skilled people, to support our clients with high quality advisory services. We have also taken great care to nurture our values-led culture and grow our own leaders.”

She continued: “I began my career in our firm as a newly-qualified chartered accountant nearly two decades ago and I’m so proud we’re bringing more students and trainees into the business than ever before, many of whom are following in my footsteps into leadership positions.

“We are committed to building on this strong foundation as we introduce our vision for the future, ensuring Johnston Carmichael continues to deliver for our clients, our people and the communities we serve.”

Johnston Carmichael has also announced that Graham Marjoribanks, partner and head of audit, becomes vice chair at the firm, and Shaun Millican, partner and head of technology & life sciences, becomes head of business advisory.

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